"The car on one lap pace is not as quick as the others, but on long run pace it's as quick as the others, or even better." ...Fernando Alonso
However, despite their dominant qualifying performance it remains to be seen whether Mercedes have yet got on top of their tyre management issues. During practise, Nico Rosberg showed improved long run consistency, but the improvement may not be enough for Mercedes to yet match the race pace of Red Bull, Ferrari and Lotus. Despite starting from the front row of the grid, the bookies therefore price Rosberg and Hamilton behind Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen.
Once again I've grouped my post-qualifying predictions for the Spanish Grand Prix into two categories based on the element of risk attached. However, of course there's no such thing as a 'safe' bet so the amount of risk is purely relative...
20 points on Fernando Alonso at 5.0 (Coral, Ladbrokes, BetFred)
After Friday's practise session the experts were suggesting that Ferrari and Lotus look to have a slight edge over Red Bull when it comes to long runs, and this is a view which Alonso seems to share judging by his post-qualifying comments. So although Vettel just had the edge over Kimi and Fernando in qualifying, I'm going to go for Alonso to claim the victory in front of his home fans.
10 points on Kimi Raikkonen at 1.57 (Coral, Ladbrokes)
Before the weekend began there were no podium bets which really stood out and after qualifying nothing's really changed on that score as once again the likely podium contenders are all priced very short. I'm therefore going to limit myself to 10 points on Kimi Raikkonen to claim his 4th podium of the season.
20 points on Lewis Hamilton at 1.33 (SkyBet, Coral, Ladbrokes)
The most profitable bets in the Top Six market so far this season have been Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Romain Grosjean, but the bookies have obviously cottoned on as their odds have plummeted for the Spanish Grand Prix. However, despite his very short odds, Lewis still seems to be the best priced front runner on offer, so I'm therefore going to go for Lewis Hamilton to continue his one hundred percent record of finishing in the top six at every Grand Prix so far this season.
Lap 1 Retirements:
20 points on Lap 1 Retirements - None at 1.53 (SkyBet)
20 points on Winning Margin - Greater Than 6 Seconds at 1.8 (Coral)
We're yet to see a really nail-biting finish this season, with Mark Webber's 4.2 second gap to team-mate Vettel at Malaysia the closest winning margin so far.
Highest Scoring Team:
20 points on Ferrari at 4.0 (Ladbrokes)
Taking A Risk/Longer Priced Bets:I've gone for a lot of long shots in this category, so treat the following tips with caution...
20 points on Lewis Hamilton at 6.0 (SkyBet)
The history books suggest Nico Rosberg is well placed for the victory, as since 1997 the Spanish Grand Prix has been won almost every year by the driver starting from pole position, with the only exception being in 2011 when Vettel won from second. In the past the Cataunya circuit has traditionally been a difficult track for overtaking, but modern formula 1 with DRS, KERS and 'racey' tyres has slightly negated the importance of starting from the front, which explains the bookies decision to make Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen the favourites. Of the longer priced drivers though, it's Lewis Hamilton which appeals the most and so he gets my vote in this category.
10 points on Daniel Ricciardo at 15.0 (SkyBet)
This one is a bit of a long shot, but judging by the weekend so far, Toro Rosso look to have made a reasonable step forward. Realistically, Ricciardo will more likely be aiming for a points finish, but he was less than two seconds off a top six finish in China, so odds of 15.0 are enough to tempt me into a small speculative punt.
Race Leader After 1st Lap:
10 points on Kimi Raikkonen at 23.0 (SkyBet)
We haven't yet seen a change of leader at the end of the first lap at a Grand Prix this year, so it's no surprise that the bookies price Rosberg as the 1.57 favourite in this market. This is another speculative bet therefore where I've been tempted into a small bet largely by the long odds on offer.
20 points on Seastion Vettel at 3.25 (SkyBet, Coral)
This market is a tricky one to predict, but the fastest lap is invariably set during the closing laps and Vettel often puts in fast laps during the final stages whether he needs to or not. He already has two fastest laps to his name this season, in China and Bahrain, so not surprisingly the bookies price him as the favourite once again to add to that tally.
20 point accumulator on: (SkyBet)
Alonso V Vettel - Alonso at 2.1
Hamilton V Rosberg - Hamilton at 1.8
20 point accumulator on: (SkyBet)
Di Resta V Perez - Di Resta at 2.0
Ricciardo V Vergne - Ricciardo at 1.8
A quarter of a second separates positions 3 to 7 on the grid, and given that Mercedes still have concerns about getting their tyres to last, it looks like we're in for an exciting Spanish Grand Prix, so as usual I'll report back after the race on how things went.
You can find my pre-qualifying tips at the following link:
The Spanish Grand Prix: Barcelona Pre-Qualifying Tips
And if you want to check out the best bets so far this season by the form guide then you can find them at the following link:
Spanish Grand Prix - The Top Bets By The Form Guide
Other recent posts:
The Form Guide After Bahrain - Part 1: Winning Driver / Podium Finish
The Form Guide After Bahrain - Part 2: Top Six Finish
The Form Guide After Bahrain - Part 3: Top Ten Finish
The Form Guide After Bahrain - Part 4: Miscellaneous Bets
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Odds were current at time of publication but are subject to change.